So your kids are all grown and out of the house and it is just you and your hubby. For years, you have cooked for the whole clan, 5 or 6 or more people and now it’s just the two of you. This has been such a challenge for me and my husband. I search forever on Pinterest to try to find recipes for two and scale a recipe back, however, it just seems like such a daunting task to me. Is it just me or does anyone else have this issue??
I have been reading a few articles on how best to plan for this dilemma and some of the suggestions I do but I see there are areas I am missing the boat. Hopefully, some of these tips will help you as they did me.
You Must Have a Plan
This is not fun but required. You have to plan your meals out in advance. Check your freezer, refrigerator and pantry to see what staples you do have and what you need. This will allow for a more detailed grocery list and precise portions you will need for each recipe.
Don’t be Scared to Ask the Butcher
If you are making a roast and it is too big, ask the butcher to cut it smaller for you. This way you will have enough for more than one roast and food will not go to waste. Most grocery stores are happy to help you in this area if you just ask. Of course, if there is a sale on boneless pork chops and there is 6 or 8 in the package, buy the package, portion it out and freeze what you don’t use for later.
Usually it is not too difficult to divide a recipe in half and make the portions you need. If a recipe says it will serve 6, then you would just divide the ingredient quantity by 3 to get two portions. However, if a recipe calls for 3 eggs and you have 4 people, it now becomes a little more difficult. Also, with baking, it may adjust the baking time and we all know with baking, everything is about precision. When in doubt, make the recipe as it states and portion out what you do not eat and freeze.
Portions and Freezing
This is the best part about cooking for two and having too much food. However, one must remember to eat the frozen food and not let it sit in the freezer forever. I am referring to myself of course…LOL
Ok so, if you made a whole crock pot full of beef stew and you don’t want to waste any of it, simply divide it up into smaller portions and freeze. Or you can, portion some out for lunches as well and then freeze. Here are some tips for freezing:
- Always use freezer-safe storage bags and containers. They are designed to keep moisture in and odors from other foods out. Also, they are thicker and more durable.
- Before sealing the bags, always remove all the air as best you can. If you are using a container try to use smaller containers and fill as close to the top as you can. This will help to prevent freezer burn.
- Before sealing and putting food in containers and freezing, make sure your food is completely cooled. This allows it to freeze faster and stay fresher. Also, if you freeze baked goods before they are cooled, this will create moisture and cause them to mold easily.
- Always label your bags and containers. Note, the day you prepared the meal, portions and the contents. This will help you keep track of when to eat it and expiration times. Here are a couple of links to help with freezing food if you have questions: Freezing and Food Safety, Refrigerator & Freezer Storage Chart.
- To thaw most frozen foods just leave them in the fridge overnight.
Be Creative with Leftovers
My husband loves leftovers but can only eat them a day, maybe two days after we had them for dinner. It never fails that I forget to portion them out and freeze them, hence the waste. So be diligent with making up a couple of meals for you and hubby for lunch, portion out the rest to freeze or get creative. There is plenty you can do with pre-cooked meals and ingredients. For example, if you roast a chicken and have meat left over, you can make chicken salad sandwiches or a chicken pot pie. If you have left over steak, like I do from dinner last night, you can slice it up and have it in your salad, which I will do for lunch today! So many of our leftover items can be added to soups, pizzas, salads and more. You just have to look at those leftovers as ingredients in the store and not just”leftovers” Be creative!!
When you think about the creativity part, you really can use leftovers more than just freezing them. This is the one I need to work on the most. When I make a dish and I know it will only last maybe two days for leftovers, I need to look at what the ingredients are and think…hmmmm…what can I make out of that. This has me excited now. Cannot wait to research leftover ingredients on Pinterest and see what comes up.
Just because I absolutely love this dish, I thought I would share the recipe with you all. It is so yummy and the smell while cooking in the slow cooker is amazing. Best part? You can make some great other dishes with any leftovers you may have. Enjoy!!
Just scroll down a ways and you will see the recipe. Trust me, you do not need any liquid for this at all, however after I made it a few times, my hubby and I loved the flavor so much, that now I use almost all the pepperoncinis and I use some of the juice.
I hope this has helped you a little in the war against trying to cook for two people and if the stress is getting to you, take a break and come and stay in one of our beautiful cozy cabins.